The Detroit Red Wings are not known for fast-tracking their prospects from junior or college hockey to the pros without some substantial seasoning in their minor league system. Still, on the rarest of occasions, a player like Carter Mazur can buck the trend. Don’t rule out the same for Detroit’s top prospect, Marco Kasper.
The last prospect to start right away was forward Lucas Raymond, who made an immediate impact upon being drafted. Raymond was immediately inserted on Detroit’s top line. If you recall, Raymond had been expected to start in Grand Rapids as the Red Wings had veteran forward Bobby Ryan in camp on a personal tryout. With one spot left in Detroit’s top nine, Raymond won the job, and Ryan called it a career.
Bringing prospects along slowly is Detroit’s MO, and it’s tough to argue with the success they’ve had doing so over the years. The organization even brought along their star defender and eventual Calder Trophy winner, Moritz Seider, slow-ish having him spend an entire season in Grand Rapids with the Griffins before becoming the team’s top player at the position. The organization has done the same with Filip Zadina, Jonatan Berggren, and, most recently, their top defense prospect, Simon Edvinsson.
Detroit Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde saw Mazur up close over the past couple of weeks at the World Championships. Mazur performed exceptionally well, posting a goal and four points over ten games for Team USA.
“I was very happy with Carter,” Lalonde told the Free Press Wednesday. “He represented a lot of our young guys, where they elevated their game immediately. The thing I really like about Carter is, he already plays through bodies and a lot of times, we are having to teach young players that. So that is a huge credit to him.”
“There are still a lot of areas where he needs to grow his game, but I got a very good impression from him,” Lalonde said. “Carter represented our guys — no fear. He put his nose right into things. It was impressive to see.”
Carter Mazur is poised to push for a final roster spot with the Detroit Red Wings.
Mazur, 21, joined the Detroit Red Wings organization late in the season following a stellar career at the University of Denver. This past year as a sophomore, Mazur totaled 22 goals and 37 points over 40 games. This production came following a 14-goal, 38-point season as a freshman. Upon joining the Griffins for the final six games of their season, Mazur stayed hot, scoring three goals and totaling six points.
Following the conclusion of Detroit’s season, Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman spoke fondly of Mazur, saying he looks the part of an NHL player. Yzerman also mentioned that Mazur would be on the Detroit Red Wings roster ‘sooner than later’ but admitted he did not know if it would be in this coming October (the start of the regular season) or not.
Of course, Yzerman won’t guarantee anyone a roster spot in April for the following season. There is an entire off-season that needs to take place. The Detroit Red Wings are expected to be very busy this summer in free agency and the trade market, which could leave roster spots at a premium. That being said, Mazur, who plays with grit and an edge, would fit nicely in Detroit’s bottom six to begin the year.
Again, there are many moving parts expected over the next couple of months, but if you pencil in Mazur and Kasper from day one, that indicates Detroit will be moving on from Pius Suter, Alex Chaisson, and Adam Erne.